|Clemens definitely did some curls for the girls|
If we are to believe the decision made by the legal system, we are to view Mr. Clemens as a guy who hurled baseballs better than anyone in the last 40+ years. This is a guy who earned 7 Cy Young awards and an MVP award. He had 6 seasons with 20+ wins. Roger had a sub-3 ERA in 12 different seasons. He had 11 seasons with 200+ strikeouts, and 2 with over 290 K's. Those, my friends, are holy shit numbers. Those are not only shoe-in Hall of Fame numbers, but borderline GOAT status numbers (Greatest Of All Time). You may never have cheered for him, depending on where your fandom allegiances lie, but you sure as hell have to admit those number make him the best pitcher you've been alive to see.
The only problem with Roger Clemen's legacy is this whole steroid thing. The problem with this problem is that it's a BIG problem. I, for one, have no idea how Congress spent millions of American tax dollars on this case and failed to win. In my eyes, it's as obvious as any PED case outside of Barry Bonds. I mean, the dude had an ERA in 2005 of 1.87 and was under 3.00 in 2004-2006. Oh yeah, bee tee dubs, he turned 40 in 2003. Nobody wins Cy Youngs and pitches like that after 40 without steroids or some sort of performance enhancer. Beyond unnatural numbers, Clemens' trainer and a plethora of humans around baseball seem convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he was a drug user. Teammates, friends, and team personnel testified against him. Witnesses all over the place aren't buying Clemens' claims, but that's not what the jury believes.
Now, why is this important to baseball today and in the future? This guy retired. His influence on players is no longer a thing. It shouldn't matter to baseball fans whether or not he's in jail or in a ginormous house somewhere out in Texas. I'll tell you why we should care. He's going to be up for election into the Hall of Fame in the next couple years and it's now uncertain whether or not he will, or deserves to be, elected. In my humble opinion, it's inevitable that he will someday be represented by a bronze statue of his big steroidy head in Cooperstown.
What is in question is when he'll get the nod. It is truly an honor in the baseball world to be elected in one's first year of eligibility. If someone takes more than one year to be elected by the Baseball Writers of America, it is as much of an insult as little guys behind a typewriter can hurl at the pro athletes they follow so closely. I for one, think he deserves to get in the first time around. While I also believe he took steroids, I think his accomplishments are still first-ballot worthy. The tail end of his career may be artificially enhanced, but his early numbers are Hall worthy. Another reason I think he shouldn't be overlooked that first year of eligibility has to do with his peers. He dominated everyone in the league during the "Long Ball Era". The MLB had a slogan that said, "Chicks dig the long ball!" That was basically Major League Baseball's way of advertising for the steroid using hitters. Despite this attempt to juice up the offensive numbers around the league, Clemens routinely shut down every lineup he faced.
You may disagree with me because you view steroid users as the ultimate cheaters, but I think we still need to respect the hard work this man put in to get the results he did. Just taking performance enhancers won't make one a muscly baseball animal. People have to bust their ass in workouts and take care of their bodies to ensure that steroids are going to make them bigger, stronger, and faster. In the end, Roger Clemens worked his ass off to get outstanding results. Results that, in my mind, should land him in the Hall of Fame the first time his name appears on the ballot.